Meet our Staff of Certified Naturalists

                                               Patrick Merrill                                       Blake Moore
                                       Vessel Programs Manager                  Vessel Staff Manager

Pacific Whale Foundation is proud to introduce you to the Certified Marine Naturalists, Biologists and U.S. Coast Guard certified Captains who staff our vessels. Our staff are known for their enthusiastic commitment to ensuring you have a safe, enjoyable, fun and educational ocean cruise with us.


Jess Rickard, Naturalist, Ocean Voyager
Hometown: Cherry Tree, PA
Education: Saint Francis University, BS Biology/Marine Biology
Interests: SCUBA, Freediving, Photography, Painting, travel

Anna Lieding, Lead Naturalist, Ocean Odyssey
Hometown: Hana, Maui, Hawaii
Education: B.S. Marine Biology, Brown University
Interests: Spear fishing, Research

Josh Wittmer, Lead Naturalist, Ocean Odyssey
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Education: BS Environmental Science, Allegheny College
Experience: Duke Marine Lab, Bermuda Biological Station for Research, Bermuda Aquarium collections and quarantine, Americorps Watershed Stewards Project, SeaCamp/NHMI Big Pine Key, FL, REEF Key Largo, FL, Maui Ocean Center curatorial department diver, Hawaii DLNR research diver.
Interests: Diving, Underwater Photography, Rebreathers, Hiking, Education, Conservation, Relaxation, Research, Travel, Fishing, Surfing, Cephalopods, and Fish.
Name: Christy Kozama, Lead Naturalist, Ocean Quest
Hometown: Asheville, NC
Education: BS Marine Biology, College of Charleston, SC
Experience: Sea World San Diego, US Navy Marine Mammal Training Program,
Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute, and various other aquarist and research internships/volunteer programs
Interests: surfing, hiking, diving, snowboarding, cooking, travel, and exploring Maui
Morgan M. Smith- Naturalist, Ocean Odyssey
Hometown: Boulder, CO
Education: Master of Science- Florida Atlantic University; B.A. Biology - University of Colorado at Boulder
Experience:  Extensive fieldwork in Colorado, Florida and Costa Rica on birds, bugs and turtles; Hawksbill Turtle monitoring project - Big Island, HI; Science Instructor - SeaCamp-Florida Keys; Teaching Assistant - Florida Atlantic University and Harbor Branch; Masters Thesis research on sea turtles in S. Florida; Various Volunteer projects at animal sancturaries and rehabilitation centers; Primate Zoo Keeper - Palm Beach Zoo.
Interests:  Animals and the Ocean, SCUBA, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, camping, relaxing, talking, learning, funny movies, good food, great friends.
Annie Hillier- Naturalist, Ocean Discovery
Hometown: Bainbridge, WA
Education: B.A. Colorado College
Experience: Lived in Bonaire, N.A., working as a marine ecology student and conservation student researcher
Interests: running, reading, ostracod mating
Walking the talk: buying local to reduce my environmental footprint
Dav Yuan- Naturalist, Ocean Spirit
Hometown: Wez, Belgium
  Education: B.A. St Mary's College of Maryland in Ecology and Environmental Studies 
Research thesis on Tropical MOckingbirds in Belize. Research for Cornell University on Tropical Orioles in Mexico. Three years teaching high school marine biology, geology, meteorology, astronomy, and general biology in Annapolis. Two years as a rock climbing guide/coach/instructor.
Interests: Photography, rock climbing, guitar, learning, change
Walking the talk: Childhood passion for animals has developed into a personal commitment to our natural world. Always eager to be at the forefront of conservation biology. Now on a mission to change the world for better through science and education. However small the change is...every little bit counts.